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Gallagher downplaying Gilded's chances
DEL MAR, Calif. - With a win at the 2006 Royal Ascot meeting to her credit, Gilded is the most accomplished filly in Sunday's $85,000 Viejas Casino Handicap at Del Mar. But trainer Paddy Gallagher is far from convinced that Gilded can win the one-mile turf race in her first start in nearly 13 months.
"She's not real impressive" in the mornings, Gallagher said. "I'm not sure if she wants to go this far."
Gilded won the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes over five furlongs on turf at Royal Ascot in June 2006, but was beaten in two subsequent starts. She was purchased by trainer Vladimir Cerin and Meadow Creek Farm last fall, but did not start for them.
Gilded was purchased by Gallagher for $420,000 at the Barretts summer sale in June as part of a dispersal of Meadow Creek Farm.
A winner of 5 of 8 starts and $151,447, Gilded won five consecutive races at 2. "She was good enough as a 2-year-old, but I don't know if she can keep going," Gallagher said.
Gilded is likely to race near the lead in the Viejas Handicap, which is restricted to 3-year-old fillies. She must beat the Saratoga shipper Silky Smooth, the improving Honored Gold, and Eclisse, who is seeking her first stakes win.
Silky Smooth makes her first start for trainer Jeff Mullins after finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga on July 27.
Honored Gold has won two consecutive claiming races - one for $25,000 on July 12 at Hollywood Park and a $50,000 claimer on turf here on Aug. 6.
Freddie Ruth injured, euthanized
Freddie Ruth, a 2-year-old filly by Trippi, was euthanized on Friday morning after suffering a catastrophic injury to her right foreleg, Mullins said.
Freddie Ruth was the first horse euthanized as a result of injuries suffered on Del Mar's synthetic Polytrack surface at this meeting. There have been five fatalities as a result of injuries sustained on the turf course since the meeting began on July 18.
Last year, 18 horses were euthanized as a result of injuries suffered during the Del Mar meeting.
Freddie Ruth was working under Clinton Potts on the main track shortly after 8 a.m. when the injury occurred.
Owned by Turf Express Inc., Freddie Ruth had 1 victory in 2 starts and earnings of $28,000. She won a maiden special weight race by 10 lengths at Hollywood Park July 11 and was considered by Mullins a candidate for the $250,000 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3.
Potts escaped injury on Thursday when Holly Torque Tango suffered a fractured cannon bone to her left foreleg during a five-furlong sprint on turf. Holly Torque Tango was euthanized on the course.
Trained by Brian Koriner, Holly Torque Tango, a 3-year-old filly by Exciting Story, won 3 of 5 starts and $101,550. She was second in the 2006 Landaluce Stakes and third in the Grade 3 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes at Calder last month.
Garcia benefit raises $120,000
A benefit poker tournament on Thursday for Noe Garcia, the groom for Lava Man who lost his left arm in an automobile accident in July, raised more than $120,000, according to Dennis O'Neill, the brother of trainer Doug O'Neill.
The event was held at a local hotel and featured more than 300 poker players and a silent auction. Dennis O'Neill and his wife, Tammy, organized the event, with support from owner Paul Reddam and Lava Man's owners - Jason Wood, and Steve, Dave and Tracy Kenly.
"It was far beyond our expectations," Dennis O'Neill said. "It was $50,000 more than I thought we'd do."
Horse owner Mark Carter won the poker tournament and the grand prize of a Toyota FJ Cruiser. Jockeys David Flores and Isaias Enriquez finished second and third.
Dennis O'Neill said proceeds from the event will go toward providing Garcia with a prosthetic arm and living expenses during rehabilitation.
Garcia attended the benefit, and is expected to be at Sunday's Pacific Classic, which Lava Man won in 2006.
Big fields in pick six
Sunday's card has a $1 million guaranteed pick six pool. The pick six includes the 13-runner Pacific Classic, the Del Mar Mile with a field of nine, and a six-furlong maiden race for 2-year-old with 12 entrants.
The maiden race is the sixth race on the 10-race program, and the second leg of the pick six. The field of 12 has eight first-time starters.
One of the experienced horses is Overextended, who has finished seventh and second in his first two starts, both against leading 2-year-olds. Overextended was seventh behind Salute the Sarge at Hollywood Park on June 3 and second to Drill Down here on July 28.
Salute the Sarge subsequently won two stakes, and along with Drill Down is bound for the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 5. Doug O'Neill is hoping that Overextended, by Monarchos, runs well enough Sunday to justify a start in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity.
"We're hoping he's a classic kind of horse," O'Neill said. "The pedigree is there."
The most expensive first-time starter in the field is Forest Echoes, purchased for $900,000 at the Ocala Breeders' sale of 2-year-olds in training in March by Sheikh Mohammed. Trained by Eoin Harty, Forest Echoes had one quick gate work - five furlongs in 1:00.20 - on Aug. 9.
Harty also starts Colonel John, a homebred colt by Tiznow owned by WinStar Farm who has worked quickly in recent weeks.
Another expensive colt is Processor's Turf, purchased for $425,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale. Owned by Edmund Gann and trained by John Sadler, Processor's Turf had a bullet workout from the gate - five furlongs in 59.80 seconds - at Hollywood Park on Aug. 1.
The first-timer Haggis Macpherson, purchased for $225,000 at Ocala, has shown ability, according to trainer Brian Koriner, who is guarded about the colt's chances. "On a dirt track, he's a winner," Koriner said. "On this track, he may be along for the ride. He's got a lot of speed. I don't know what he'll do."
Trainer Howard Zucker said that the first-time starter Blaze N Waggin would need a start to be at his best.
Masterpiece, 7, breaks through
Masterpiece, whose career has been plagued by incidents of bleeding from the lungs, won his first American stakes in Thursday's $89,955 Harry Brubaker Handicap. Partly because he came into the race on a nine-race losing streak, Masterpiece ($30.20) went off as the longest shot in the field of six.
Ridden by apprentice jockey Alonso Quinonez, Masterpiece rallied from third to finish a length in front pacesetter Warrior Song. Chattahoochee War finished third.
Trained by Peter Eurton, Masterpiece has made only seven starts since joining Eurton's stable in early 2005. A 7-year-old Argentine-bred, Masterpiece won the Group 1 Gran Premio San Isidro over about a mile in Argentina in October 2004.
"He came into the race as good as he's ever been," Eurton said. "He's been a bad bleeder. It's been very difficult to treat him."
Eurton said that Masterpiece has undergone sessions in a hyperbaric chamber, a treatment of pure oxygen that helps horses recover from strenuous exercise.
Masterpiece earned $53,973 for winning the Brubaker, by far the most lucrative victory of his 20-race career, which includes six wins and earnings of $125,254.